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    ‘Sex Education’ Is Back. Here’s What You Need to Know.

    The raunchy British teen dramedy has been away for two years. Here’s a refresher for the Netflix series’s fourth and final season.School is back in session for the sweet, sometimes absurd British comedy “Sex Education,” which leans heavily into its streaming-series freedom to portray adolescent sex for what it generally is: awkward, mediocre, part of life. Expect close-ups of patchy pubic hair, belly rolls and many (many) penises — among other physical realities of sex that don’t typically appear in teen stories.The show, which won the award for best comedy series at the International Emmy Awards in 2022, centers on Otis (Asa Butterfield), the erudite but romantically floundering son of a sex therapist (Gillian Anderson), who finds that he, too, has a gift for doling out intimate advice — in his case, to his desperately uninformed classmates. Unlike other raunchy teen dramas, like the provocative “Skins” and “Euphoria,” “Sex Education” takes a normalizing, endearingly un-edgy and even occasionally musical approach to the birds and the bees (though the writers would probably choose a more clinical term).In the fourth and final season, now streaming on Netflix, Otis must navigate a new school alongside his effervescent best friend, Eric (Ncuti Gatwa). After the closure of Moordale Secondary School at the end of Season 3, they now face a social hurdle more daunting than trying to become popular: survival as the new kids.But if popularity at Moordale was all about status and appearance, the new school represents something of an alternative educational universe, where learning is student-led, sustainability is cool and gossip is frowned upon.Will Otis and Eric fit in? Will Otis set up a new sex therapy clinic? And where is his broody, wryly sharp love interest Maeve Wiley (Emma Mackey)?Two years have passed since the release of Season 3. Here’s a refresher — a little gossip, if you will — as we head into Season 4.What happened to Moordale?After a schoolwide sexually transmitted infection outbreak in Season 2 and an obscene, intergalactic production of “Romeo and Juliet: The Musical,” Moordale Secondary School attracted news attention for its debauchery and earned the nickname “Sex School.” The administration hired a new head teacher, Hope Haddon (Jemima Kirke), to turn things around, but her shame-based approach to discipline and strict dress code couldn’t keep the students from being sexually curious teenagers.As revenge, the student body revolted at a public assembly for Moordale’s investors and the news media, disrupting the program with a screening of a sex-positive student film in which they dressed in genitalia-inspired costumes. Then the audience chanted, “We are Sex School,” and the band performed an explicit song.It was chaotic and symphonic, and it was enough of a ruckus to scare off investors and prospective paying parents. Moordale’s funding was withdrawn, and it closed its doors, forcing its students to find new schools.Where is Maeve?In Season 3, one of the English teachers at Moordale, Ms. Sands (Rakhee Thakrar), gave Maeve, Otis’s crush and sex clinic business partner, a brochure for a gifted and talented program in the United States. Throughout the season, Maeve wavered back and forth on the decision, concerned about the money and leaving her little sister behind.Otis and Maeve’s will-they-won’t-they relationship got some resolution when they finally kissed on a class trip to France. But in the final scene of the season, we learned that Maeve was leaving to study literature at a prestigious American university.The news came as a blow to Otis, who was happy for Maeve’s dream opportunity but devastated to see her go. Maeve promised that her departure didn’t mean that they were over, but she didn’t define the relationship further.Gillian Anderson in the Season 4 premiere of “Sex Education.”Thomas Wood/NetflixIs Jean … OK?Yes … and no. At the end of Season 3 Otis’s mother, Jean, went into labor with dire complications, including hemorrhaging. But she pulled through, and in the season finale, she delivered a healthy baby girl whom she named Joy. Although the pregnancy had a happy ending, the future of the family is a bit fuzzier. In one of the final scenes of the finale, Jean opened a paternity test and her shock revealed that her partner, Jakob (Mikael Persbrandt), might not be the father.Throughout the pregnancy, Jean and Jakob were committed to raising their baby together and forging a robust, if a bit untraditional, family unit with Otis and Ola (Patricia Allison), Jakob’s daughter (who, in a messy set of circumstances, used to date Otis).Will Jean, a careerist rising in her field, continue her sex therapy practice? Will Jakob remain in the picture? And if he isn’t the father, who is?Where do things stand with Eric and Adam?Eric, who is gay and proudly wears eyeliner, colorful nail polish and silky scarves, has had an emotional roller coaster of a relationship with Adam (Connor Swindells), a closeted bully who is new to intimate relationships. They grew closer as Adam learned to accept his sexuality, but Eric struggled to be with someone who couldn’t fully open up, and he eventually kissed another boy on a family trip to Nigeria.Adam eventually forgave the infidelity, but Eric realized he had outgrown the relationship and broke up with him anyway. Heartbroken, Adam began to come to terms with his identity; in the finale, he came out as bisexual to his mother, finally admitting to her that Eric had been his boyfriend. This could be a turning point for the animal-loving gentle giant who always feels like a misfit.Is there still a wide array of experience in Season 4?Somehow the show’s lens has gotten even wider. “Sex Education” is known for its nuanced depictions of gender, sexuality and disability, and for presenting forms of intimacy that are rarely displayed on mainstream television. A progressive new school promises an even more varied student body, with types of relationships not explored in previous seasons. Whether the school lives up to its “good vibes only” reputation remains to be seen.The show celebrates the body — its limitations, its potential, its drive — in its many forms. Whatever Season 4 may bring, it is sure to explore a wide range of teenage lust and physical complexities. More

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    Fall TV 2023: New and Returning Shows to Watch

    Even with much of Hollywood on strike, there will be plenty of notable new and returning shows arriving in the next few months.We’ve been here before. In 2020, to be exact, when it was the pandemic that played havoc with fall network television schedules.The effects of the writers’ and actors’ strikes this year are a little less drastic — they took hold later in the production cycle than the pandemic did, and they only affect American series. But once again we are looking at lineups full of reality programs and game shows. Fox will still have its animation lineup (their long lead times mean more episodes were completed); CBS will repurpose and recycle (“Yellowstone,” the original British “Ghosts”); CW will offer a Canadian smorgasbord. On cable, streaming and PBS, meanwhile, with shorter seasons and more flexible scheduling, the effects are not so noticeable.Here is a roundup of strike-proof shows on fall schedules. Dates are subject to change.September‘THE SUPER MODELS’ Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista and Christy Turlington Burns are executive producers of this documentary series about their ’90s heyday, which promises to be as luxurious as the goods they modeled. (Apple+, Sept. 20 )‘SEX EDUCATION’ With Moordale Secondary closed, everyone has to get used to a new school in the fourth and final season of this popular, award-winning, sex-positive soap opera. (Netflix, Sept. 21)‘YOUNG LOVE’ “Hair Love,” the Oscar-winning animated short film from 2019 about a Black father learning to style his daughter’s hair, has been expanded into an animated series about a Chicago family. (Max, Sept. 21)‘THE CONTINENTAL: FROM THE WORLD OF JOHN WICK’ Mel Gibson headlines this three-episode extension of the John Wick universe, a prequel focused on a private hotel for assassins called the Continental. Colin Woodell (“The Flight Attendant”), as the future proprietor Winston Scott, has the unenviable task of convincing us that he’s a younger version of Ian McShane. (Peacock, Sept. 22)‘DEADLOCKED: HOW AMERICA SHAPED THE SUPREME COURT’ Dawn Porter (“John Lewis: Good Trouble”) directed this four-part documentary about the modern history of the Supreme Court. (Showtime, Sept. 22)‘KRAPOPOLIS’ Dan Harmon, creator of “Community” and “Rick and Morty,” joins Fox’s Sunday-night lineup with a comedy about a young king (Richard Ayoade) trying to foster civilization in a brightly animated ancient Greece. Fox has ordered three seasons of the show, which if nothing else will provide ample opportunity for the inimitable Matt Berry to voice the king’s father, a debauched half-centaur, half-manticore. (Fox, Sept. 24)Created by Dan Harmon, “Krapopolis” joins Fox’s Sunday night animation lineup.Fox‘THE IRRATIONAL’ Jesse L. Martin, a star of “Rent” on Broadway and a “Law & Order” mainstay for nine seasons, gets his own show for the first time in a three-decade TV career. In mainstream TV’s long tradition of offbeat crime solvers, he plays a behavioral scientist whose quirky team tackles “illogical puzzles and perplexing mysteries.” (NBC, Sept. 25)‘FRIEREN: BEYOND JOURNEY’S END’ This anime series begins after its heroes have completed their ultimate mission; one of the group, the elf Frieren, will outlive her human companions by hundreds of years and come to regret not having known them better. In a genre that gives a lot of space to melancholia, “Frieren” is particularly wistful. (Crunchyroll, Sept. 29)‘GEN V’ Amazon expands the world of its buzziest show, “The Boys,” with a spinoff set in a college for superheroes. (Amazon Prime Video, Sept. 29)October‘BOB’S BURGERS’ Fourteen seasons in (with No. 15 already ordered), Loren Bouchard’s animated comedy remains the sweetest, truest series about family love and dysfunction. With the recent revitalization of “The Simpsons,” it makes Sunday night on Fox the closest thing left to a destination on terrestrial TV. (Fox, Oct. 1)‘FOUND’ Shanola Hampton of “Shameless” stars as a public-relations expert who looks for missing persons of color in NBC’s second new series about an unconventional crime-solving team (after “The Irrational”). (NBC, Oct. 3)Shanola Hampton and Bill Kelly in “Found,” coming to NBC in October.Steve Swisher/NBC‘THE SPENCER SISTERS’ Lea Thompson, starring in a live-action series for the first time since ABC Family’s “Switched at Birth” ended in 2017, plays a Canadian mystery writer who solves crimes with her ex-cop daughter. The joke is that the vain, libidinous mom and the no-nonsense daughter get mistaken for sisters, or so the mother would believe; call it “Murder, She Flirted.” (CW, Oct. 4)‘BARGAIN’ The story line of this Korean series involving an organ auction, a remote location and an earthquake carries some “Squid Game” vibes. (Paramount+, Oct. 5)‘LUPIN’ Netflix’s contemporary take on a classic French character, the turn-of-the-previous-century master thief Arsène Lupin, resurfaces more than two years after its last appearance. Omar Sy returns as the Lupin aficionado Assane Diop, who spent the show’s first two seasons clearing the name of his unjustly imprisoned father. (Netflix, Oct. 5)‘OUR FLAG MEANS DEATH’ David Jenkins’s singular concoction — a queer romance and office sitcom set aboard an 18th-century pirate ship — returns for a second season. (Max, Oct. 5)‘TRANSPLANT’ A pre-strike Canadian import, this conventionally well-made medical drama about a Syrian refugee (Hamza Haq) who becomes a surgeon at a Toronto hospital enters its third season, with Rekha Sharma replacing John Hannah as the chief of the emergency room. (NBC, Oct. 5)‘LOKI’ The most multiverse-y of the Disney+ Marvel series returns for a second season, with Tom Hiddleston as a variant of the shifty Norse god Loki who is reluctantly attached to a timeline-policing authority. The Oscar winner Ke Huy Quan joins the cast. (Disney+, Oct. 6)From left, Tom Hiddleston, Ke Huy Quan and Owen Wilson in “Loki.”Gareth Gatrell/Marvel, via Disney+‘THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER’ Having adapted Shirley Jackson (“The Haunting of Hill House”) and Henry James (“The Haunting of Bly Manor”) for Netflix, Mike Flanagan tackles Edgar Allan Poe in a story that reimagines the Ushers as a big-pharma family. Flanagan regulars like Carla Gugino, Henry Thomas and Michael Trucco return. (Netflix, Oct. 12)‘FRASIER’ Intellectual property that deserves the name. The sparkling sitcom returns with Kelsey Grammer’s sniffy psychiatrist, Frasier Crane, having relocated to Boston (scene of the character’s original incarnation in “Cheers”) after his 1993-2004 run in Seattle. Not making the trip, unfortunately, is David Hyde Pierce as Frasier’s brother, Niles, nor, apparently, any of the other original cast members. (Paramount+, Oct. 12)‘GOOSEBUMPS’ R.L. Stine’s series of comic horror books for teenagers, already the basis of a popular series on Fox Kids in the 1990s, gets a new adaptation created by Nicholas Stoller (“Forgetting Sarah Marshall”) and Rob Letterman (the 2015 “Goosebumps” feature film). (Disney+, Oct. 13)‘LESSONS IN CHEMISTRY’ Apple has shown a taste for shows with a nostalgic flavor, whether or not they are set in the past — “Hello Tomorrow!,” “Physical,” “The Morning Show.” (Remember when morning shows mattered?) Brie Larson stars in this one as a woman in the 1950s who channels her skills as a scientist into hosting a cooking show. (Apple+, Oct. 13)Brie Larson stars in “Lessons in Chemistry” as a scientist turned cooking show host.Apple TV+‘SHINING VALE’ Courteney Cox, as a blocked writer who moves to the suburbs, and Mira Sorvino, as the jealous ghost haunting the writer’s new house, return in a comic take on “The Shining” whose first season was cleverly macabre. (Starz, Oct. 13)‘ANNIKA’ The second season of this under-the-radar British cop show will be American viewers’ only ration of the wonderful actress Nicola Walker this fall, now that “The Split” and her run in “Unforgotten” have ended. Walker plays the leader of a “marine homicide unit” based in Glasgow. (PBS, Oct. 15)‘BILLY THE KID’ It’s not obvious why this workmanlike western with the British actor Tom Blyth in the title role got a second season, but it may have something to do with the track record of its creator, the British writer Michael Hirst, who was also responsible for “The Tudors” and “Vikings.” (MGM+, Oct. 15)‘RICK AND MORTY’ The seventh season of the celebrated sci-fi cartoon will be the first without Justin Roiland, who created the show with Dan Harmon and voiced both of the title characters. (Adult Swim cut ties with Roiland after his 2020 arrest on domestic abuse charges was publicized; the charges have since been dropped.) (Adult Swim, Oct. 15)‘WORLD ON FIRE’ The first season of this British series about ordinary people proving their mettle, or failing to prove it, in the various theaters of World War II was not the most sophisticated of melodramas. The return of Lesley Manville (after a four-year gap between seasons), as a bigoted Manchester woman coping with her son’s sudden acquisition of a Polish wife, makes up for a lot, though. (PBS, Oct. 15)‘THE AMERICAN BUFFALO’ For the first time, Ken Burns directs a documentary that is not about man or man’s accomplishments. (Well, the second time if you count “Not for Ourselves Alone,” the one among his three dozen projects as a director that focuses specifically on women.) But the four-hour series is equal parts human history and natural history, as it traces the intertwined fates of the bison and the tribes that depended on them. (PBS, Oct. 16)‘EVERYONE ELSE BURNS’ The CW slips a British comedy onto its menu of mostly Canadian series. Simon Bird of “The Inbetweeners” and Kate O’Flynn of “Landscapers” play the parents in a family that struggles with the strictures of their Christian sect, whose many no-nos include drinking coffee and celebrating birthdays. (CW, Oct. 16)Simon Bird and Kate O’Flynn star in “Everyone Else Burns,” a British import coming to the CW.James Stack/CW‘NEON’ Three friends portrayed by Tyler Dean Flores (who plays the singer), Emma Ferreira (the overbearing manager) and Jordan Mendoza (the social media geek) move to Miami in search of reggaeton stardom in a comedy whose executive producers include the Taylor Swift antagonist Scooter Braun. (Netflix, Oct. 19)‘WOLF LIKE ME’ This Australian dark comedy is a mix of rom-com and broken-family drama in which one character’s being a werewolf is both the classic impediment to true love and an all-purpose allegory of the need for safety in relationships. Its first season was slight, amusing and often moving. (Peacock, Oct. 19)‘30 COINS’ The Spanish director Álex de la Iglesia’s entertainingly lurid thriller about a demonic conspiracy focused on a small village gets a second season and a substantial new cast member, Paul Giamatti, who plays a mysterious American tech billionaire. (HBO, Oct. 23)‘LIFE ON OUR PLANET’ The creators of British series like “Planet Earth” and “Our Planet” join forces with Industrial Light and Magic and Steven Spielberg for a natural-history series about the ebb and flow of life across the eons, which provides copious opportunities for animating the 99 percent of earth’s species that have gone extinct. (Netflix, Oct. 25)‘FELLOW TRAVELERS’ Matt Bomer and Jonathan Bailey star as clandestine lovers in a nostalgic march-of-history mini-series — McCarthyism, Vietnam, disco, AIDS — written by Ron Nyswaner (“Philadelphia”), based on the novel of the same name by Thomas Mallon. (Paramount+, Oct. 27; Showtime, Oct. 29)‘THIS ENGLAND’ Hamlet and Hercule Poirot are all well and good, but here’s a real challenge for Kenneth Branagh: playing the Brexit-boosting, Covid-partying former prime minister of Britain, Boris Johnson, in a six-episode mini-series written by Michael Winterbottom and Kieron Quirke. (BritBox, Nov. 1)‘ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE’ Steven Knight, creator of “Peaky Blinders,” developed this mini-series from Anthony Doerr’s Pulitzer-winning World War II romantic thriller about a brave, blind French girl and a German boy whose technical skills pull him into the Nazi army. Marie-Laure, the blind heroine, is played by Aria Mia Loberti, a Fulbright scholar, disability advocate and first-time actor; Marie-Laure’s father and great-uncle are played by the more seasoned Mark Ruffalo and Hugh Laurie. (Netflix, Nov. 2)Aria Mia Loberti, a first-time actor, stars in an adaptation of the novel “All the Light We Cannot See.”Katalin Vermes/Netflix‘LAWMEN: BASS REEVES’ Originally billed as yet another spinoff of “Yellowstone,” the latest show from the executive producer Taylor Sheridan is now an anthology series that will feature various real-life old-west lawmen. The first season stars David Oyelowo as Reeves, a formerly enslaved man who developed a formidable reputation as a deputy U.S. marshal. Lauren E. Banks plays Reeves’s wife and the cast includes Dennis Quaid, Donald Sutherland and Shea Whigham. (Paramount+, Nov. 5)‘THE BUCCANEERS’ “A group of fun-loving young American girls explode into the tightly corseted London season of the 1870s,” according to the press release, which sounds like a cross between “Downton Abbey” and a reality dating competition (never mind that it’s based on an unfinished Edith Wharton novel). (Apple TV+, Nov. 8)‘FOR ALL MANKIND’ Equal parts soap opera and engaging alt-history of the space race — you didn’t see the North Korean thing coming, did you? — “Mankind” jumps ahead another decade for its fourth season, with international partners uneasily working together to mine asteroids in 2003. (Apple TV+, Nov. 10)‘BELGRAVIA: THE NEXT CHAPTER’ Written by Julian Fellowes (“Downton Abbey”) and starring redoubtable British performers like Tamsin Greig and Harriet Walter, the mini-series “Belgravia,” about 1840s London society, was a distinct pleasure. This sequel jumps ahead 30 years and has a new cast and a new writer, Helen Edmundson (“Dalgliesh”). (MGM+, Nov. 12)‘PARIS POLICE 1905’ The first season of this historical police procedural — titled “Paris Police 1900” and set when the procedures we’re used to seeing were being invented — was handsomely produced, crazily plotted and consistently entertaining. The new season returns most of the cast (with the regrettable exception of Valérie Dashwood’s laudanum-sniffing, steel-nerved Mme. Lépine) and adds automobiles. (MHz Choice, Nov. 14)‘MONARCH: LEGACY OF MONSTERS’ Kurt Russell’s last regular role in a series was nearly 50 years ago, in the 1976 western “The Quest,” so kudos to Legendary Pictures and Apple for talking him into starring in their Godzilla-adjacent MonsterVerse mystery. It’s a package deal: Russell and his son Wyatt both play the central character, an Army officer somehow connected to kaiju research and development. That would seem to prevent them from appearing onscreen together, but we can always hope for a time warp. (Apple TV+, Nov. 17)‘SCOTT PILGRIM TAKES OFF’ Bryan Lee O’Malley’s graphic novels about a mopey Toronto bassist who is also, accidentally, a video-game warrior — already made into a 2010 film starring Michael Cera, “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” — are now adapted into an anime series produced by the Japanese studio Science SARU. O’Malley is on board as a writer and showrunner. (Netflix, Nov. 17)‘FARGO’ After an underwhelming sojourn in 1950s Kansas City in its fourth season, Noah Hawley’s arch rural noir heads back north to Minnesota and North Dakota for a story starring Jon Hamm as a sheriff and Juno Temple as the woman he’s hunting for. The typically eclectic cast includes Dave Foley, Lamorne Morris and Jennifer Jason Leigh. (FX, Nov. 21)‘ECHO’ Like alien invaders sending out spores, Marvel series multiply on Disney+. This one — starring Alaqua Cox as the Native American hero who can perfectly mimic movement and Zahn McClarnon as her father — is an offshoot of “Hawkeye,” from 2021. But it lies closer to “Daredevil” in the Marvel narrative architecture, so Charlie Cox and Vincent D’Onofrio are also in the cast as Daredevil and the Kingpin. (Disney+, Nov. 29)December‘PERCY JACKSON AND THE OLYMPIANS’ Ten years after the second and, so far, final Percy Jackson film, Walker Scobell (he played Ryan Reynolds’s younger self in “The Adam Project”) takes on the role of the 12-year-old demigod in a new series. (Disney+, Dec. 20)Other returning shows: “American Horror Story” (FX, Sept. 20); “Starstruck” (Max, Sept. 28); “The Simpsons” (Fox, Oct. 1); “Family Guy” (Fox, Oct. 1); “Magnum P.I.” (NBC, Oct. 4); “Quantum Leap” (NBC, Oct. 4); “Creepshow” (Shudder, Oct. 13); “Hotel Portofino” (PBS, Oct. 15); “Bosch: Legacy” (Freevee, Oct. 20); “Upload” (Amazon Prime Video, Oct. 20); “Native America” (PBS, Oct. 24); “American Horror Stories” (FX on Hulu, Oct. 26); “Shoresy” (Hulu, Oct. 27); “The Gilded Age” (HBO, Oct. 29); “Invincible” (Amazon Prime Video, Nov. 3); “Rap Sh!t” (Max, Nov. 9); “Julia” (Max, Nov. 16); “Power Book III: Raising Kanan” (Starz, Dec. 1) More

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    ‘Sex Education’ Gets More Inclusive in Its Intimacy

    With its new nonbinary characters and its scenes depicting chest binding and disabled intimacy, the British teen comedy-drama continues to widen its lens.Layla (Robyn Holdaway) slides a bin in front of the bedroom door, takes a small wicker box from its hiding place in a drawer full of clothes and opens it to reveal a roll of Ace bandages and a tin of safety pins.The scene that ensues, from Season 3 of “Sex Education,” depicts a routine that is all too familiar for many nonbinary and transgender youth. Layla — who, like Holdaway, uses they/them pronouns — proceeds to wrap the bandages tightly around their chest, which is already bruised and bloodied from unsafe chest binding.Later in the episode, Cal — another new and nonbinary character this season, played by the Sudanese American actor Dua Saleh — shows Layla a safer alternative: a chest binder, which is a compression undergarment often made of spandex and nylon.“I did it for a while with Ace bandages,” Cal tells Layla, who tries on a borrowed chest binder. “Until I nearly broke a rib.”Layla looks into the mirror, laughs incredulously and says with joy, “It feels so much better.”Laurie Nunn, the creator of this British dramedy, said that presenting such interactions, matter-of-factly with plenty of detail, is part of the show’s effort “to progress these conversations forward.”“It felt important to me that we see two nonbinary characters communicating with each other onscreen,” she said in a recent video interview. “It’s not just representation; it’s having as much of it as possible within the scope of the show.”Over two seasons, “Sex Education” has been widely praised for its frank but sensitive depictions of teen sexuality. In Season 3, now out on Netflix, the series has widened its lens to include more stories about queer relationships, gender presentation, intimacy with a disability and other experiences that rarely are explored on mainstream television.To do so in an authentic but respectful fashion, the producers use intimacy coordinators and a healthy dose of communication. “The show goes to great lengths to make sure that our actors are as protected as possible,” Nunn saidAt the same time, stars like George Robinson, who, like his character Isaac, uses a wheelchair, found themselves serving as both performers and de facto consultants, ensuring that the details and dynamics of their scenes were accurate. “Obviously, he’s playing a character, but it’s making sure that it feels authentic and true to his experience as a disabled actor,” Nunn said.George Robinson’s love scene was a rarity for a disabled actor, but everyone involved “stayed away from thinking too much about the significance of that scene,” he wrote in an email.Sam Taylor/NetflixOne such scene unfolds in Episode 4, when a dinner date between Isaac and Maeve (Emma Mackey) turns toward the intimate. Isaac is paralyzed from the chest down, like Robinson. Maeve starts kissing him, then pulls away. “Can …” she whispers, trailing off.“You want to know what I can feel?” Isaac asks.“Yeah,” Maeve replies.“Well, I can’t feel anything below my level of injury,” Isaac says. “If you put your hand on my chest, I’ll show you.”Isaac was originally conceived as an amputee, but the show’s producers decided to rewrite the role around the disability of whoever landed the part. Isaac is a painter, a brother, a lover and crucially, in Season 2, a jealous deleter of voice mail messages. His sense of humor is laced with cynicism, like Maeve’s.When asked how it felt to film the dinner date scene, Robinson responded in an email, “The easy and instinctive answer would be to think that in the moment, it felt like a real privilege to be a part of a ‘cultural moment’ type scene like that.“However, I have realized that in actual fact we (myself, Emma and the creative team) purposefully stayed away from thinking too much about the significance of that scene within the landscape of TV, film and media. We came to the conclusion that in order to make the scene successful, we had to make sure that it worked within the story and for the characters at that time in their relationship.”Kelly Gordon, a trainer at Enhance the UK, a charity run by disabled people, and Chris Yeates, an outreach and support coordinator at Back Up Trust, a charity that supports people affected by spinal cord injury, consulted on Isaac’s story line. The scene works because it’s not about the fact that Isaac uses a wheelchair. It’s a story about two awkward teenagers, an expression of affection and a burned lasagna.David Thackeray, an intimacy coordinator, worked on all eight episodes of Season 3, including this scene with Isaac and Maeve. Thackeray choreographs each take as if it were a dance sequence or a fight scene, mapping out physical boundaries with each actor beforehand.“We’re all sitting together, discussing the scene; we mark out where we’re happy to be touched,” Thackeray said. “Even to sit on George’s lap was like, ‘Are you happy with that?’ You keep that communication going.”Coordinators and consultants checked in constantly on the cast’s comfort levels. Jodie Mitchell, a consultant who advises productions about how to depict nonbinary characters and themes (and who also uses they/them pronouns), was initially brought on only to work on the script with the writers. Then one of the show’s directors, Runyararo Mapfumo, called, wanting to double check the details of scenes featuring nonbinary characters.“And then she really wanted me to come on set, which I think is indicative of how much this program really wants to get things right,” Mitchell said in an interview. “It’s not just about posturing for them or ticking the box of like, ‘Oh, we’ve checked it’s OK with someone.’ They really want to follow through to the highest level they can.”Mitchell worked on set for three days, focusing on nonbinary story lines, mostly consulting on those chest binding scenes involving Layla and Cal. Holdaway, who plays Layla, had the option of having an intimacy coordinator present for every scene.“But for a few of the scenes around bindings specifically, they were like, ‘Oh, actually, I just want someone who is trans and has lived experience with being trans in the room with me,’” Mitchell said. “So I was there.”Saleh, who plays Cal and also uses they/them pronouns, was a poet and musician before moving more seriously into acting (their third EP comes out Oct. 22). While Saleh has performed in some transgender- and queer-centric plays (“WAAFRIKA 1-2-3”) and theater groups (20% Theatre Company in Minneapolis), “Sex Education” was their TV debut.In a past theater production, “we had a lot of intimacy scenes, but we didn’t have a coordinator there,” Saleh said in a video interview last month. “So coming to ‘Sex Ed,’ it felt surprising how thoughtful and careful they were about our bodies, and about the ways that they helped us set boundaries with each other, and say what we weren’t and what we were comfortable with.”Like others on “Sex Education,” Saleh is a fan of the show as well as a star, and occasionally got caught up in resonant moments this season. Saleh was particularly moved by scenes portraying Eric Effiong (Ncuti Gatwa), a gay Ghanaian-Nigerian character who attends a family wedding in Nigeria. Eric sneaks out of the reception to go instead to an underground club pulsing with color, queerness and gender nonconformity.“When I was a teenager, if I had seen this show, I wouldn’t have held onto all of the gross feelings about myself, just in me being me,” Saleh said. “I wouldn’t have been as shameful about just existing.” More